Sustainability has become a crucial factor in the pet food industry, leading to a closer focus on the raw materials used. How can pet food ingredients become more sustainable? We asked this question over a decade ago as we embarked on our mission to become the most sustainable krill company in the world.
The QRILL Pet product range for pet food and supplements is backed by a series of carefully planned choices and actions that prove our commitment to sustainability.
These steps span our daily operations, whether at sea or in our production plant, and include our corporate strategy and investments in research and innovation.
Here are the top 10 key steps we have taken to promote a more sustainable pet food industry. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words.
1. We harvest only a small fraction of the krill biomass
This sets the krill industry apart significantly. According to the United Nations, a sustainable harvest quota should be around 10% of the total biomass annually. However, in area 48 of Antarctica, where Aker BioMarine conducts its krill fishing operations, the quota is less than 1% per year. This means that 99% of the biomass is left untouched for the local predators to feed on.
2. We implement fishing restrictions to safeguard the pristine Antarctic ecosystem
To support local wildlife, such as seals, penguins, and whales, our primary goal is to maintain a thriving krill supply. That's why we strictly adhere to voluntary buffer zones that restrict where we can fish. This is the only way we can ensure the healthy biomass and wildlife in the area will flourish.
As part of our commitment to sustainability, we took a significant step in 2020 by permanently closing off one area to fishing activities.
Read more: Why krill is sustainable
3. We are Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified
The MSC is an independent certification body that rigorously assesses the sustainability of fisheries. We proudly received our initial certification in 2010, making us the first-ever krill company to achieve this prestigious recognition.
And, we were re-certified in 2020 for the third consecutive time, with an exceptional score.
4. We're actively involved in research and share our findings with the world
We understand that sustainability cannot happen in isolation. And so we are actively engaging in research and collaboration as we know how important these practices truly are. Through the Antarctic Wildlife Research Fund (AWD), which was founded in 2015 in partnership with WWF-Norway and other organizations, we fund research initiatives aimed at protecting the Antarctic ecosystem.
Moreover, we work closely with highly esteemed scientific organizations to adopt a scientific and evidence-based approach and mitigate the environmental impact throughout our entire value chain. This collaboration not only demonstrates the sustainability of our product when used in pet food but also ensures that our efforts are backed by reputable research and results.
By working closely with non-governmental organizations, as well as official and private institutions, we can ensure that our stays remain relevant and that the results we have can be widely shared and used to drive sustainable food systems within the pet food industry.
5. We have invented the revolutionary technique of Eco-Harvesting
Driven by our wish to deliver the highest quality krill catch, we have created an exclusive Eco-Harvesting Method. This groundbreaking technology for krill harvesting and processing not only is more efficient and sustainable but also can effectively prevent bycatch, ensuring a pristine and responsible approach to our harvest operations.
6. We can track every step of our supply chain
From the very beginning, we knew how important would be to have complete control over our supply chain and trace every aspect of our process.
Today, we are proud to have a complete chain of custody that spans from the moment we harvest the krill to the production of our end products. This ensures that each and every batch of krill can be traced back to its precise catch location, providing transparency and accountability throughout our entire operation chain.
7. We have made significant progress in reducing our plastic waste
We were so committed to reducing plastic waste that we took action by starting a company called AION. This innovative circularity-as-a-service company transformed our large, plastic product bags into 3,000 crates that are now being used in our operations.
8. We always aim for A's
For the past seven years, the Antarctic krill fishery has consistently received top marks from the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP). This independent report assesses the management of the krill supply and confirms that the fish stocks are in excellent condition.
An 'A' grade from the SFP actually means that the fishery is being responsibly managed and the stocks are thriving.
9. We set ambitious goals
As a sustainable company, we are constantly looking to improve. That's why we have set up important ESG goals to guide our efforts. By 2030, we aim to significantly lower our carbon footprint both at sea and on land.
We always want to innovate and contribute to a more sustainable future food system. Our active efforts to deliver low-carbon marine ingredients will help in the decarbonization of pet food. Moreover, we will continue to collect data and closely monitor our operations to identify areas where we can improve and intensify our efforts.
If you want to know more about Aker BioMarine’s sustainability commitments towards 2030, here's our latest annual report. It will give you detailed insights into our ongoing efforts and initiatives.
10. We always monitor the krill biomass
As part of our ongoing dedication to research, we have always been dedicated to monitoring the size of the krill biomass to ensure its health and steady growth.
Recently, the Institute of Marine Research in Norway released the results of their comprehensive 10-year study, and their findings are reassuring. The study confirmed that the densities of krill are consistently high and that the krill fishery has had no detrimental effect on the population.
This research provides more evidence of our commitment to sustainability and the responsible management of krill resources.
In conclusion, the sustainability of pet food ingredients plays a vital role, and here at Aker BioMarine, we have taken important steps to ensure our krill products are not just environmentally responsible but also contribute to a better planet.
By harvesting only a small fraction of the krill biomass and implementing strict fishing restrictions to protect the delicate Antarctic ecosystem, we are actively showing our ongoing commitment to sustainability.
On top of all these, we believe that our Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification and our commitment to sharing research findings strengthen our position as pioneers in sustainable pet food ingredients.